Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Belizen Constitution: How Self-Censorship, Threats and Negotiations undermine rights

Posted 23rd February, 2014

The far right in Belize in 2011 started telling the Public that the L.G.B.T community  is looking for special rights and because the constitution speaks to the GOD, that any attempt to advancement  L.G.B.T concerns would be a violation of that constitution. In defense of the constitution, they had several marches around the country in 2013 and allowed an UniBAM effigy to lead one march in Toledo.




 
                   
                 


 The factual truth is that the preamble to the constitution does speak to acknowledging the Supremacy of God, but it also speaks to faith in human rights. See below the actual wording:          

                                                
 " affirm that the Nation of Belize shall be founded upon principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator;"

The state, while keeping out of the debate, and rightly so, because of the competing interests, has by omission, inaction and indifference  failed to address the social disparity between citizens as is requires in the preamble seen below:


(e) speaks to…require policies of state which protect and safeguard the unity, freedom, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Belize; which eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity among the citizens of Belize whether by race, ethnicity, colour, creed, disability or sex; which ensures gender equality; which protect the rights of the individual to life, liberty, basic education, basic health, the right to vote in elections, the right to work and the pursuit of happiness;….

Note, the preamble speaks to" among the citizens of Belize," it did not say except L.G.B.T citizens, and so, one can argue there is a failure of the governance structure to  response to the rights of its L.G.B.T citizens through investments in human rights education, mechanism that address discrimination, or legislative protection. The Universal Periodic Review of 2009 have come and gone without follow-up of its recommendations to do, for example, a feasibility study to explore the development of a National Human Rights Institution. In 2013, a representative of the state, Prime Minister Barrow to his credit, finally spoke of not shirking its responsibilities. However, a cabinet response would be more encouraging. One may argue, engage the state, but as we have come to learn, it takes 6 years to get new legislation revised like the criminal code amendments of 2013. The state in its 2009 response spoke of " needing a political mandate" to address reform, indicating at the time, its unwillingness to address the issue. It seems despite, its responsibility to all its people and its role under a constitutional framework, it has failed to taken steps to initiate structure and a substantive response.

In an environment, where inaction was the norm, it was important to challenge section section 53 in the Supreme Court. Like all things, there was a reaction to our action and the group Belize Action had its first, of many rallies in 2011 at BattleField park in Belize City.










The rallies where held in Independence and Orange Walk respectively,  as seen here in 2011 to support its concerns of a moral decay and a Family Forum to speak about the"True Human Rights" in 2010 at the University of Belize.  Something that was shared with them by C-FAM, a known international entity that exists to undermine rights. A speaker at the first forum was Pierro Tozzi, who showed up in Jamaica at a Caribbean Advocates meetings, in 2010, he was back, in 2011 in Jamaica on Human Rights Day and in 2012 showed up in Barbados at an conference and also for a World Congress of the Family meeting in Trinidad that was sponsored by a Justice of Trinidad and Tobago and former Minister of St. Lucia Sarah Beaubrun. See link http://wcfcaribbean2013.org/

 









Section  20 of the constitution speaks to.-(1) "If any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 3 to 19 inclusive of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him (or, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges such a contravention in relation to the detained person), then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may apply to the Supreme Court for redress."

The constitution speaks to my rights to address constitutional concerns in the court,  section 16 (1) speaks to  "no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory." Furthermore, section
 14.-(1)  speaks to "A person shall not be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation. The private and family life, the home and the personal correspondence of every person shall be respected." Everyone has a right to privacy, but it seems, non-state actors find it very important to talk about  "Caleb the Traitor" in an amandala news article see below:


More importantly, reduce honor and reputation to public mockery while working to advance rights enforcement and protection concerns can be considered unlawful interference. Where does the law extend its protection to "Caleb the Traitor" the gay man, the human rights advocate if there is interference or a distortion of honor as seen here:














The constitution speaks to" 3 (c): protection for his family life, his personal privacy, the privacy of his home and other property and recognition of his human dignity; and" is an important part of the constitution. The United Belize Advocacy Movement Launch a campaign called we are one in dignity and rights a couple years ago and managed to distributed 1800 wristbands, but the theme of dignity has not been lost in the organization advocacy process. When speaking about rights, its about negotiating the concerns about arming opponents with evidence of victimization, its about access to resources, its about timing and picking your battles and its about delivering a message the public can understand as individuals. When there are no formal mechanism outside of the court system, it leaves open the space of collective practice that is encouraged to undermine human dignity of L.G.B.T individuals, that goes unrecorded in crime and violence reports, in national legislation, in policy and planning development. Can you say that dignity is upheld when threats abound see below:



















Friday, February 21, 2014

LGBT Rights and US Evangelical Work in Belize 2014

Posted: 21st, February, 2014


What does this poster have to do with US evangelicals, nothing, until you look closer at the guess speaker coming at the end of the month, Dr. John Eckerdt who runs Stauron Ministries. Why is mentioning his name important, well, he can be scene here (http://www.cclmaine.org/pastors-and-church-leaders-prepare-to-defend-marriage-2/) at a meeting organized againt Maine effort to advance marriage equality organized by Protecting Marriage Maine and Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF was started in 1994, has 44 in-house lawyers and 2,200 allied lawyers with an annual budget of $30 million. According to Dangerous Liaisons, a report done by the Southern Poverty Law Centre on Belize revealed that its had incurred cost associated with its "human rights and legal work", which totaled $65,000us for Central America and Caribbean in 2009 and 2010.

Further to this, we found Patricia King back in Belize conducting sermons, this month, at the George Price Centre  in the week of  the 5th February.Why is this all important, well, King was in Belize with her associate Wesley Campbell (who organized the "Eyes and Wings at Sea cruise"). Interestingly, Campbell was implicated in a 2006 Ponzi scheme that scammed US$10M from evangelical Christians in the USA and Canada, including members of his own New Life Church in Kelowna, British Columbia (King's home town). The British Columbia Securities Commission charged that leaders of New Life Church pressured members to invest in the investment scheme by telling them it was "ordained by God". http://investorvoice.ca/PI/2722A.htm

 
Here is King and cruise member from Kelowna on a boat


Our opposition speaks to knowing nothing of the dominionists movement, we found the Belize prayernetwork site (http://belizeprayernetwork.com/ ) and its seven pillars of christian control. The site speaks of being directly accountable to the Belize Evangelical Association of Churches (BEAC) and is a branch of Tree Life Ministries which operates on the island of Caye Caulker for the last 16 years according to its site (http://belizeprayernetwork.com/about/). The site contact is George Ferrar who runs the Tree Life Ministries.
 
      
                                                               
 

The site spoke of 37 declarations that including sodomy, cultivating christian political leaders and the constitution see below and source:



We declare that Belize is under God’s special protection and care, because it is “founded on principles
that acknowledge the supremacy of God” according to our Constitution;
We declare that God is supreme over Belize, where the vast majority of people profess to be Christians,and that He is our greatest defense against foreign invasions;
We affirm with the Constitution “the equal and inalienable rights…endowed by their Creator”;
We declare the right to life endowed by the Creator, starting at conception, and the illegality of abortion;
We declare that sodomy is not a right endowed by the Creator because it violates His design for sex;
We declare that God designed sex for us to be fruitful and multiply within marriages producing families;
We declare that the effort to legalize sodomy will see defeat after defeat until it is completely defeated;
We declare that the churches in Belize will keep growing in unity as we respond to the gay agenda with God’s better plan for marriage, sex and family;
We declare that God will raise up more Christian teachers and resources with biblical worldviews;
We declare that the deception behind witchcraft, Freemasonry and cults will be exposed and weakened;
We declare that God is raising up Christian political leaders to represent Him as well as the people;
We thank God that LOVE-FM plans to have weekly broadcasts from church services;
and twice-a-month broadcasts of Christian leaders discussing national issues

More importantly, with the announcement that Patrick Andrews win for standard bearer for the PUP , it reflects an insidious development in the advancement of one of the seven pillars, control of government.




The 1000 men march coincidentally is scheduled for February 28, 2014 by the evangelicals, but the 20,000 women rally,  supported by Special Envoy, Kim Simplis, is scheduled for March 6th, 2014 as seen in the flyer below. With the recommendations of the churches submitted to water-down the gender policy (see source below page for evangelical concerns of the gender policy), and the additional announcement of Patrick King presence in Belize, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for bigotry. 



                                                                       


Source: http://belizeprayernetwork.com/about/declarations-for-belize/
Source:http://www.plustvbelize.com/news/patrick-andrews-is-new-pup-standard-bearer-for-the-belmopan-constituency/
Source: http://belizeaction.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Gender-Policy-2013-AMENDED-with-NOTATIONS-ADDED.pdf


 

Monday, February 10, 2014

El Salvador parliament rejects constitutional ban on marriage

Re posted 10th February, 2014

El Salvador parliament rejects constitutional ban on same-sex marriage


Sunday, February 9, 2014
 
SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — The Salvadoran Parliament has again failed in its attempt to approve a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

El-Salvador 


Of the 84 members that make up the Parliament, only 19 on Friday voted in favor of ratifying a constitutional amendment adopted on April 25, 2012, months after a first project, voted in 2009 to be shelved, according to the Spanish news agency EFE.
The measure, which cleared the chamber in 2012, defines marriage as between a man and a woman and their children. It also sought to prohibit El Salvador from recognizing the foreign marriages of gay couples and bans gays from adopting children.
A constitutional amendment requires the approval of two consecutive legislatures; a simply majority (43 votes) during the first reading, followed by a super-majority (56).
Having failed ratification, the initiative may not be considered again for six months.
A proposal to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption was rejected twice in 2006, and again in 2009.

Source:http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/02/el-salvador-parliament-rejects-constitutional-ban-on-same-sex-marriage/